Saturday, February 9, 2008

Did the Amoraim study Taharos and Zeraim?

R' Reuvein Margoles in his Yesod HaMishn V'Arichoso has a brilliant chiddush on this. There are many places in Shas where the word תניא is used to introduce a Mishna. The Mesoras HaShas generally changes this to תנן but it is difficult to make so many emendations. R' Margolies suggests that the Amoraim were in fact not experts in the Sedarim of Zeraim and Taharot - see for example Bava Metzia 114b:

בפרק המקבל, אשכחיה רבה בר אבוה לאליהו דקאי בבית הקברות של גוים אמר ליה ולאו מר כהן הוא מאי טעמא קאי בבית הקברות. אמר ליה ולאו מיתני מר סדר טהרות דתניא ר' שמעון בן יוחאי קברי גוים אין מטמאין. א"ל בארבע לא מצינא (ר"ל בארבעה סדרים איני מצוי) בשיתא מצינא (בששה אהיה מצוי בתמיה). א"ל אמאי. א"ל דחיקא לי מילתא טובא (כי היה עני)

ופירש"י וז"ל: בגירסא דארבעה סדרין, כגון מועד ישועות נשים שהן נוהגות בזמן הזה כבזמן הבית, וקדשים נמי כדכתיב ובכל מקום מוקטר מוגש לשמי ואמרינן (מנחות קי, א): אלו תלמידי חכמים העוסקין בהלכות עבודה בכל מקום - מעלה עליהן הכתוב כאילו מקריבין אותן בבית המקדש

Therefore it says Tanya (it was learnt) as opposed to תנן (we have learnt) on those Sedarim that not all Amoraim were experts on.

I'd like to add to his proofs that both Rashi and Tosafos seem to have been aware of this fact. Thus, Tosafos Yevamos 15a s.v. Eiruv writes "but we learnt in Taharot and it is also brought in Gittin" - Why do we need the extra citation of Gittin- if not for the difficult status of Taharos.

See also Tosafos to Shabbos 44a s.v. D'Kuli Alma and Gilyon Hashas - s.v. Hava Yoda for several other sources where it would appear that the Amoraim were not aware of Mishnayos in these Sedarim.

Rashi sometimes writes - "it is a Mishna in such and such" when involving Mishnayot in Taharos or Zeraim. Even though Rashi does not usually find it necessary to point this out in other Sedarim. See for example Rashi 54a V'HaTanan - U'Mishna Zu B'Mesecthos Kilayim)

[Update:A commenter has pointed out that in Megillah 28b we have yet another reference to four sedarim/

Despite all this, I must admit that Tosafos in two places - Chulllin 110b s.v. D'Tenan, Bava Metzia 114b s.v. Hochi Garsinan - writes that even Taharos and Zeraim were "Shagur B' Pihem". Despite this, I still believe that Tosafos (see above) would agree that Taharos and Zeraim were in a seperate class, above a Baraisa but below the standar four sedarim.]



i think the sidrei tahros is a fair rebuttal to RRM's claim

Yehuda R. said...

Is it necessarily true that תניא cannot mean a mishna? I know that whenever we have it in our גמרא as referring to a משנה it is corrected in the גליון, but is that necessarily correct? The definition of תניא is the passive "it was learned (in yeshivishe parlance)". Can't that apply to a משנה also? I understand that תנן has to mean a משנה because it means that "we learned", similar to משנתנו.

wolf2191 said...

Amshinover,I can make an extensive commentary on the Barisos from the Gemara as well but it is well know that the Amoraim were not expert in all Baraisos. Margolies’s point is that Seraim and Taharosh was on the same level as the Sifra. As opposed to the Mishna which all the Tannoim were expected to be expert in.

Yehuda, what you say is corrcet. That is exactly what Margolies was trying to say.

chortkov said...

See Gemarah, Megillah 28b for another source regarding knowledge fo only 4 sedorim.

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